According to World Health Organization; “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Therefore, when we talk about health, we talk about the overall well-being of an individual.
Finally, the time has come to put mobile devices for better use, to improve human lives. Now it is possible to imagine a society in which diseases, and all its related pains and sufferings they bring, go extinct.
A world we can dream of in which people are healthy, until end-of-life. Such a society is within the realm of scientific possibilities, but only if we can leverage on the growth of mobile technology for healthcare.
The imagination can soon be turned into a reality. Mobile applications for healthcare, commonly termed as mHealth, is all set to empower the healthcare industry in coming future.
At a global level, things have already started to take shape. Mobile technology in healthcare and medical field is opening up new paths for this generation.
Indeed, healthcare and mobile app development opportunities are expanding its vistas for a better world.
Imagine an application, a mobile application, capable to better human lives. Capable of transforming the functionalities of health care, a mobile app can now make lives easier for people, and secures it which shows the Importance of Science and technology.
If we go by what Research2guidance says;
Top ten mobile health apps account for up to four million free downloads, and 300,000 paid downloads a day” – Research2guidance
Tracking back the history of mHealth, one can easily notice that, early in 2013 there were merely 97,000 mHealth applications.
The report Mobile Health Market Report 2013–2017: The Commercialization of mHealth Applications, states that “… by 2017 there will be an estimated 3.4 billion smartphones and tablets in the world, and half of all smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded at least one mHealth app.”
Having said that, the mission with which mHealth initiated, involved managing user’s health plans, health benefits, integrating doctor prescriptions, etc.
But with the advent of technology and the passage of time, the scope of healthcare app development has widened.
Majorly, the scope of mobile health services can be categorized into two areas:
Solutions Across the Patient Pathway includes Wellness, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment Monitoring, and entailing direct touch-points with patients.
Healthcare Systems Strengthening includes Emergency Response, Healthcare Practitioner Support, Healthcare Surveillance & Healthcare Administration, and everything which involves improving the competence of healthcare providers in delivering patient care.
One of the most important factors which play a major role in the success of health is the contribution of physicians, doctors, and healthcare professionals in effectively utilizing the healthcare app technology.
A survey by HIMSS Analytics found that 93% of physicians are using mobile technologies in their day-to-day work, and 88% are using mobile technology to help deliver patient care.
One of the leading ventures of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Partners Healthcare, has successfully launched a wide range of new mobile programs aimed at healthcare.
This includes Connected Cardiac Care, TeleStroke Center, Diabetes Connect, and Blood Pressure Connect, and many others.
The results have planted some really good hope for the coming future as it reflected whopping 48% reduction in re-hospitalization of cardiac arrests.
Blending Mobile technology with data analytics can improve patient outcomes. It is possible for medical & healthcare professionals to deliver better decision support.
Mobile apps make it easy for healthcare professionals to avail large resource of patients’ accurate data.
Mobile apps can revolutionize pay-per-performance business models amongst the physicians as it is getting popular already.
It benefits in better coordinating with the patient’s overall health care while at the same time it is believed to hold down costs for both the parties involved.
Scientifically, it is proven that mobile technology improves general workflow, and therefore, it is expected to upsurge the health care settings’ efficiency.
Take this for an example to understand how effective a healthcare mobile app can be.
E.g.; a cardiologist wants to prescribe the well-known blood-thinning drug to an elderly woman, but is concerned with its adverse reaction on her. Now, to solve this dilemma, he rubs a gauze inside the patients’ cheek to pick a small amount of genetic material which is then sent to the DNA lab for testing. Now, the report generated from the lab is transmitted by an interpretation company via mobile app to the patient. Here, the results are compiled, analyzed and transmitted by a mobile app. This will help doctor to know if the patient can safely use the drug.
Mobile applications are also made by keeping in mind user’s requirements. For this, it is necessary to drive health with dedicated apps aimed at solving specific health related problems.
The commercial healthcare mobile application is one way to integrate health into the daily lives of consumers. People are getting more and more aware about the mobile healthcare.
Dedicated as well as cross-functional health and fitness integrated mobile apps for consumers are made for;
Heart rate monitoring
Dietary control and management
Here, mobile apps serve as a platform for users to better manage their own conditions and general health.
Over and above these apps, they can be more sophisticated ones that help patients manage complex health conditions that tie patients directly to their healthcare providers via mobile phones.
The scope of healthcare mobile apps aiming medical professionals is broadened when it is integrated with end-user information which provides remote access to collateralized medical information like X-Rays, images, medical prescriptions, etc.
Image Credit: 3d4medical
It delivers patients’ information to professionals so as to proliferate the mobility which eventually results in effective workflow and productivity.
Mobile applications are widely used by clinicians already. And this does not restrict the leeway of medical severity of patients.
Out than 43,000 health and fitness apps in Apple’s iTunes app store, only 16,000 are patient-facing apps with genuine health content. – IMS Institute
This leaves a lot of room for developing effective healthcare mobile apps for future. But, with the wide acceptance rate, healthcare mobile app market is fueled to expand rapidly. The same is forecasted to reach $58.8 billion by 2020.
However, it’s not all fairy tale for Healthcare Mobility Solutions. There are few challenges that healthcare mobile application development might face. Let’s have a look at it one by one.
Challenges in healthcare app development
Confidentiality of data
All mobile applications collect some sort of data as soon as you install them. A healthcare application on the other side collect more sensitive data than that of any other application.
These data include information such as diagnosis, health reading, information monitoring, and other crucial stats.
To protect confidentiality of data there’s an act called HIPPA which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
HIPPA consists of a set of guidelines that makes sure that the data is confidential and secure. All the healthcare apps must have HIPPA compliance to function.
Managing big data
With big data you can predict epidemics, improve quality of life, and come up with medicines for curing diseases.
All these projects use AI (artificial intelligence) for two purposes: 1. To sort big data and 2. To provide treatments that are disrupting the fitness, healthcare, and wellness sector.
It’s true that AI has successfully has managed the Big Data; however, it has some limitations. These limitations are that, the precision and credibility of an AI doesn’t match with that of human intelligence.
Managing market trends
Healthcare industry is a volatile industry in the sense that we keep seeing new trends every year. This volatile nature is due to transformation in people’s living habits and technological interference in healthcare.
Investors from all around the world are constantly looking for solutions that seamlessly integrate with current trends of the healthcare industry.
However, we know the volatile nature of healthcare industry which makes it challenging for the investors to build an app that suits the current trend.
For example, technologies like Machine learning, Deep learning, IoT are some of the most talked about trends in the field of healthcare.
Investors too have a keen eye on these trends and try to adopt them to bring a disruptive transformation in the industry.
However, not all mobile app development companies are able to integrate these technologies with precision. Thus, keeping up with ever changing trends in healthcare becomes difficult.
For global citizens, this is a boon. While for app-driven businesses, this an amazing opportunity.
An opportunity, which not only ensures some whooping revenues, but also a golden prospect to take advantage of technology to serve a bigger purpose and leave an impactful mark on this generation of the human species.